Brooks Pierce Capital Dispatch: Governor Signs Critical Infrastructure Bill, Budget Negotiations Continue
Gov. Roy Cooper this week signed a new critical infrastructure law and legislators continued budget negotiations.
Budget negotiators this week continued work on a conference committee report for the budget bill (H 259). Legislative leaders have announced a goal of enacting a new budget by June 30, the end of the state’s fiscal year, although there remain a number of areas of disagreement which may push the legislative session into July. If there is not a new budget by June 30, state government operations will continue at the FY 23 level pursuant to the state’s budget continuation law (GS 143C-5-4).
Protect Critical Infrastructure
Gov. Cooper this week signed into law a bill (S 58) that increases punishments for intentionally damaging utility equipment. The bill was introduced in part due to attacks on the electric grid in Moore County in December 2022.
The new law increases penalties for acts damaging energy-grid facilities and for trespassing on those facilities and for willful damage to wires and other fixtures of telephone, broadband, broadcast or cable telecommunications companies. Penalties include prison time and a fine of $250,000. The law creates a civil remedy for a person who is injured or whose property is injured by reason of damage to an energy facility against the person committing the damage.
The Senate passed two bills this week that would alter North Carolina election procedures.
S 747 would change a number of laws including those governing absentee ballots, poll observers and same-day registrations. It would also ban use of private money for election administration.
S 749 would change both the State Board of Elections and all county-level boards of election. Under the bill, appointments to these boards would be made by the General Assembly, instead of the Governor. The number of State Board members would increase to eight from the current five and county-level board membership would be reduced from five to four.
Both bills passed along party lines by a margin of 28-19 and now go to the House for consideration. Gov. Cooper is opposed to both bills.
Information about bills and work of the General Assembly can be found at its website: www.ncleg.gov.
For more information, contact a member of the Brooks Pierce Government Affairs Team.